The Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc. (CFDA), a not-for-profit trade association founded in 1962, has a membership of four hundred and seventy seven of America’s foremost womenswear, menswear, jewellery and accessory designers. The CFDA Foundation, Inc. a separate not-for-profit organization, was created to raise funds for charity and industry activities. In addition to hosting CFDA Fashion Awards; launching IMPACT which fights racial discrimination and CDFA Fashion Incubator to support new fashion designers in New York, CFDA also owns the Fashion Calendar.
Founded in 1962 by Eleanor Lambert who believed in the potential of American fashion and spent more than seventy years tirelessly creating the institutions, the legends and the spectacular fashion events that put American fashion on the world fashion map, CFDA is known for having transformed the way the world views and experiences fashion. Hailing from the world of art in the Twenties and Thirties, Lambert was instrumental in the staging of major American fashion events worldwide, particularly the 1973 “Battle of Versailles”. One of the most prolific publicists in fashion, interior design and other areas of the arts and philanthropy in addition to being a pioneer in bringing American fashion to its current stature, she received the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1988 and the CFDA Industry Tribute Award in 1993 before passing away at the age of hundred. Today, the not-for-profit trade association has a membership of over four hundred of America’s leading womenswear, menswear, jewellery and accessory designers. The CFDA also launched Fashion Manufacturing Initiative, an investment fund to help revitalise New York City’s garment industry. The program reportedly offers matching financial grants to New York City’s fashion manufacturing production facilities.
To strengthen the impact of American fashion in the global economy.
To create the institutions, the legends and the spectacular events that put American fashion on the map and change the way the world views and experiences fashion.
The CFDA Foundation, Inc. a separate not-for-profit organization, was created to raise funds for charitable causes. Through the Foundation, the CFDA created and manages Fashion Targets Breast Cancer; raises funds for HIV and AIDS organizations; addresses the issue of model health with The CFDA Health Initiative; and is a key participant in other programs such as the annual, supremely popular Fashion’s Night Out.
The. association is acclaimed for hosting the annual CFDA Fashion Awards which celebrates excellence in fashion design. Nominations are proposed by the Fashion Guild, a group of over 1,500 CFDA members, fashion editors, retailers, and stylists. And, award winners are decided on and declared at an annual black-tie event held in New York City.
In February 2021, the association developed IMPACT, a multi-faceted initiative to create opportunities for historically underrepresented and unsupported communities in fashion. IMPACT identifies, connects, supports, and nurtures Black and Brown creatives and professionals in fashion, furthering CFDA’s mission to advance American fashion by including diverse talent in every facet of the industry’s ecosystem.
Of equal importance is CDFA Fashion Incubator, a business development program to assist the next generation of fashion designers in New York. The program provides a creative professional environment with the mission of helping to grow and sustain the businesses of the 10 participating brands throughout the two-year program. By providing low-cost design studio space, business mentoring, educational seminars, and networking opportunities, the program provides a way for participants to reach their full potential and become an integral part of the New York Fashion community.
The CFDA Foundation, Inc. is a separate, not-for-profit organized to mobilize the membership to raise funds for charitable causes. Through the Foundation, the CFDA created and manages the worldwide Fashion Targets Breast Cancer initiative; raises funds for HIV/AIDS organizations with events such as Fashion’s Night Out and 7th on Sale and addresses the issue of model health with The CFDA Health Initiative. Yet another important development by the association is the CFDA Scholarship Fund which is designed to support exemplary fashion talent.
Currently helmed by Steven Kolb, the Council of fashion Designers Of America continues to invest in the fashion ecosystem with the goal to award scholarships estimated at $500,000 to under- represented student design talent, therefore building a more inclusive, just and equitable future of Fashion.
The Council of Fashion Designers of America Chairman is Steven Kolb while board members include Tracy Reese, Vera Wang, Stan Herman, Stacey Bendet, Dao-Yi Chow, Prabal Gurung, Tommy Hilfiger, Norma Kamali, Michael Kors, Reed Krakoff, Ralph Lauren, Ashley Olsen, Italo Zucchelli, Diane von Furstenberg, Virgil Abloh, Maria Cornejo, Kerby Jean-Raymond and Carly Cushnie.